Preola Adam

Africa Sustainability Partnerships Manager, Unilever

It is Preola Adam’s passion for the environment and helping people that led her to her role leading the sustainable agenda and the Unilever Foundation for South Africa and partnering with Wildlands Conservation Trust. This agenda is a key part of developing the innovations that have helped to reduce water and energy wastage within Unilever factories. Over and above her duties with Unilever, Adam assists in giving unskilled workers in poverty- stricken areas of South Africa the chance to improve their way of life and is a dynamic worker against climate change.

Adam is also actively involved in the Greenpreneurs programme, which allows community members to exchange indigenous trees that they have planted and cared for, as well as recyclable waste, for health and wellbeing packs. This encompasses bartering indigenous trees in return for livelihood support, including food, building materials, bicycles, solar panels and rainwater harvesting tanks. “I believe we each have the power and responsibility to make a positive difference in the world, and that we are all connected,” she stresses.

“There is a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson that I love that goes: ‘We are all connected. To each other biologically. To the earth chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.’ By helping each other and our planet, we ultimately help ourselves and enrich our lives.” Adam says that she became involved in her area of conservation watching the American animated environmentalist television programme Captain Planet and the Planeteers which she says “as a child started me out on this journey.”

Asked whether environment is a career or a passion, Adam emphasises: “Both! I look after sustainability and Unilever Foundation partnerships, which are aligned to our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan ambition to grow our business and improve our social and environmental impact.

“I am lucky enough to work with amazing people both inside and outside of my organisation to develop and manage partnership programmes between Unilever and other corporates, academia, government and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) such as Wildlands and the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality. “It is only through working together and collective action that we can really achieve scalable positive change. During my time with global NGO Women in Engineering (WomEng), I led a thought leadership series of events through our @Network platform, where we explored topics such as engineering technology for social good and Africa’s energy mix.” Adam is a qualified chemical engineer, whose commitment and contribution to WomEng has seen her grow up the leadership chain of this multi-award-winning organisation to serve as a director.

Describing her plans for her area of choice over the short, medium and long term, Adam simply says: “To continue to play a role in making a positive difference in the world every day.”

— Rebecca Haynes

LinkedIn: preola-adam-5323a319/